1. One of the ways that the Children's Defense Fund galvanizes people to action is the provision of clear statistics on the lives of children in poverty. Having looked briefly at the CDF website (below), begin the lesson by giving students a few of the statistics found there.
2. Then, divide the class into five groups, assigning each group the task of compiling both statistical and programmatic information about poor children in five categories:
- Child Health
- Child Welfare and Mental Health
- Early Childhood Development
- Education and Youth Development
- Family Income and Jobs
3. When the groups have completed their research in these five areas, ask them to share what they have learned. Why do they think Marian Wright Edelman named her organization the Children's Defense Fund?
4. Then, they should select what they consider to be the most important information and set out to find the same kind of information about poor children in their own community.
5. Students should compare local information with the national data on the CDF website, and come to some conclusions about the status of poor children in their localities.
6. Engage students in a discussion of what steps might be taken to make things better in their own localities.
The Children's Defense Fund
The CDF Mission
Marian Wright Edelman
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.